GE Appliances, union enter 11th week of contract talks - WDRB 41 Louisville News

GE Appliances, union enter 11th week of contract talks

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Members of IUE-CWA Local 761, led by president Dana Crittendon, rallied ahead of previous contract negotiations in May 2015. Members of IUE-CWA Local 761, led by president Dana Crittendon, rallied ahead of previous contract negotiations in May 2015.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  GE Appliances and the union representing about 4,000 rank-and-file workers at Louisville Appliance Park have extended a short-term agreement through Sunday as they continue to negotiate a new, multi-year labor contract.

GE Appliances and the leaders of IUE-CWA Local 83-761 began negotiating on Aug. 16 but have yet to reach a deal that could be offered to the union’s membership for approval.

“We remain committed to this process, and to taking the time necessary to get this contract right,” GE Appliances spokeswoman Kim Freeman said in a statement Tuesday.

Dana Crittendon, president of IUE-CWA Local 761, did not respond to request for comment.

General Electric Co. sold GE Appliances to Qingdao Haier of China for $5.6 billion in June. The workers’ labor deal with GE did not carry over to Haier, prompting a new set of negotiations.

At issue in the contract talks are healthcare and other benefits, work practices, wages and “contract articles,” according to Freeman.

Before the talks began, GE Appliances management said it would need concessions from the union to make the Louisville manufacturing operations profitable and competitive with peers.

EARLIER: Ahead of contract talks, GE Appliances takes aim at union worker wages, health benefits

Here is the full statement from GE Appliances:

Negotiations have been underway between GEA and leaders from the IUE-CWA Local 83761 since August 16th to develop our first contract as GEA, a Haier company.  While we have not yet come to an agreement, the teams have made progress identifying the key elements needed for a contract that is fair for employees while also helping improve the performance of Appliance Park and helping to make the business more competitive. The discussions address items such as healthcare and other benefits, work practices, wages, and contract articles.

We remain committed to this process, and to taking the time necessary to get this contract right. When we were part of GE we were bound to a national contract that was negotiated for all GE business units. The national contract didn’t necessarily reflect the unique pressures and needs of our business, or align with our cost structure. As the North American arm of a global appliances company, we are responsible for operating the business competitively and generating profits that can be reinvested in our operations, initiatives and new products. There are things we must change to do that, including having a labor agreement that reflects the realities of the Appliance Park operations, our business and the industry.

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